The Beatles have announced that Ron Howard will serve as the director of the eagerly awaited documentary on the group's touring years. The temporarily titled "The Beatles Live Project" will focus on the group's pre-fame days making their bones as a band in Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany up through their final tour in 1966 which culminated with their last public concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park. The film -- which still has no official release date -- is being produced with the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and Olivia Harrison. Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde will act as executive producers for the Beatles' company Apple Corps. Apple is partnering with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment and Nigel Sinclair’s White Horse Pictures for the doc, which Sinclair hopes will hit theaters late in 2015.
Ron Howard spoke about the project to Billboard, explaining, “What’s so intriguing to me is not only the subject, but the context we can bring to it now. Not only can we do a study of these touring years, the narrative of an odyssey, we can look at the significance of the Beatles as individuals -- as musical geniuses, as societal leaders and their effect on global culture. Dramatically it makes a lot of sense and cinematically, we have a chance to offer a unique experience.”
Howard told Rolling Stone: "We are going to be able to take the Super 8 footage that we found, that was all shot silent. We'll not only be able to digitally repair a lot of that, but we've also been finding the original recordings. We can now sync it up and create a concert experience so immersive and so engaging, I believe you're going to actually feel like you're somewhere in the '60s, seeing what it was like to be there, feeling it and hearing it. And as a film director, that's a fantastic challenge."
The project features the best in the business. Nigel Sinclair -- who served as the producer of Martin Scorsese's George Harrison documentary, George Harrison: Living In The Material World; The Who's Amazing Journey: The Story Of The Who; and Scorsese's No Direction Home: Bob Dylan -- told Billboard about some of the groundbreaking finds while producing the doc: “If we find a performance that’s particularly good, say in Cleveland in 1964, and have been able to find the sound with separated tracks, that’s something that will add a whole new dimension."
Also on board Scott Pascucci, managing director of Concord Music Group and former head of Warner’s Rhino Entertainment, who served as an executive producer on the Harrison doc, and has recently been associated with Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival: 2013 and Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin.'
The amount of new first hand interviews, previously unseen photographs, original paperwork on their travel and payment, information on their hotels, decoys, and details about the venues they played, easily makes Some Fun Tonight the most important book ever written about the Beatles' days as a live act.
For more info on the new Ron Howard-directed Beatles doc, log on to: http://www.thebeatlesliveproject.com/